Known internationally for her litigation work, the partner is also making a social impact in New Zealand
A MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner has been named a semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year for a second consecutive year.
Stacey Shortall, who was one of two lawyers who entered the semi-finals for the 2019 awards, is again among the 10 who have advanced to the final stage of judging. “This award honours someone who, through their inspiration and leadership, contributes to the wellbeing of the country,” the organisers said.
There were 969 nominations for the award. The other semi-finalists for the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award are:
- Peter Beck
- David Downs
- Anne Gaze
- Professor Jane Harding
- Tapu Misa
- Dr Helen Petousis-Harris
- Anjum Rahman
- Dame Margaret Sparrow
- Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira CNZM
“I am again incredibly honoured by this nomination. My passion is developing grassroots solutions to tackle entrenched social issues in New Zealand with the end goal being more connected individuals and more connected communities. I would like to thank all the volunteers, of course without which, none of this would be possible,” Shortall said.
The winner will be announced at a gala dinner on 20 February 2020.
Shortall, who’s known internationally for her litigation work, is also making a social impact in New Zealand. While practicing in New York, she worked pro bono on cases, including for mothers facing termination of parental rights or seeking to regain custody of their children in foster chair, domestic violence victims, and refugees.
When she returned to New Zealand, she founded the Who Did You Help Today Charitable Trust, which promotes social good across New Zealand. She also pioneered in 2014 the Homework Club with volunteers from MinterEllisonRuddWatts. The club connects workplaces with low-decile schools to support students.
Shortall is also the founder of the Mothers Project, a program that helps train lawyers who volunteer to visit female prisons every month to help imprisoned mothers understand their rights and responsibilities regarding their children. The firm says that the project now runs in all of the country’s female prisons and has helped more than 650 imprisoned women.
In 2017, Shortall also launched HelpTank, which is described by MinterEllisonRuddWatts as the country’s first home-grown digital marketplace that connects skilled volunteers with community causes.
“Stacey is one of our real stars and an inspiration to all. The time and effort she dedicates to helping those around her on top of her legal practice is absolutely incredible. Her passion and commitment to bridging gaps in the community and social good has created a positive difference for many Kiwis and has positively impacted our firm’s culture,” said Andrew Poole, MinterEllisonRuddWatts chief executive.